Facts Sheet for Consumers
Vitamin E is essential for life, and Americans typically don’t get enough of it from their diet. Only 8 percent of men and 2 percent of women consume the amount the government recommends. It is hard to get Vitamin E from foods alone, so supplementation is recommended.
Vitamin E is nature’s best antioxidant for protecting cell surfaces. It’s important to protect our cells and keep them healthy as they transport nutrients into the body and release toxins out. One Vitamin E molecule is used over and over and can protect against 1000 free radical molecules. Vitamin E is important for a healthy immune system and provides great protection to the heart.
Drs. Evan & Wilfred Shute did early research on the
effects of vitamin E on more than 30,000 patients.
The doctors describe seven properties of vitamin E:
• It is a powerful antioxidant and improves the ability of tissue to utilize oxygen
• It prevents the formation of blood clots
• It is a vasodilator for the capillaries
• It improves damaged capillary fragility
• It resolves some scars
• It may improve muscle power in athletes and in animals
• It has been found to be therapeutic for managing heart disease
Vitamin E Deficiency
Vitamin E deficiency may result in damage to red blood cells and to the destruction of nerves. Signs of deficiency can include infertility (in both men and women), menstrual problems, neuromuscular impairment, shortened red blood cell life span, miscarriages and uterine degeneration. People with impaired balance and coordination and/or damage to the retina may also be deficient. Individuals with fat malabsorption problems such as those caused by cystic fibrosis or Crohn’s disease may have a vitamin E deficiency. True vitamin E deficiency is rare, but low intake is relatively common.
One study showed that 27 to 41 percent of people studied had blood levels of alpha-tocopherol less than 20 micromoles per liter, the level below which there appears to be an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Low levels of vitamin E in the body have been linked to both bowel cancer and breast cancer ~~Phyllis A. Balch, CNC~~
Natural vs Synthetic Vitamin E
Vitamin E in its natural form is d-alpha tocopherol. Synthetic vitamin E is labeled as dl-alpha tocopherol. The “dl” synthetic form is commonly found in mass market supplements, meaning grocery, drug or big box stores. This “dl” form comes from coal and tar derivatives according to the Organic Consumers Association. It can actually be harmful to your health when taken long term. If you ever see a controversial vitamin E study with undesirable results it is inevitably because they are studying synthetic vitamin E. (so avoid the “l” folks!) Stick with d alpha always and you’ll be doing the best you can for yourself.
Every product sold on this site has natural forms of all our nutrients – we’ve done the homework for you.
Vitamin E studies & dosage
Drs. Shute advise starting with small doses for patients whom have heart disease and very slowly working up the dose. The reason is that if too much is given at the beginning, the increased strength of the heart beat may create some difficulty. The same applies to heart failure from hypertension. The initial dose should be small and gradually increased so that the final dose can safely reach 800 to 1200 IUs. Its doses have been studied by Drs. Shute ranging from 100 IU to 8000 IU’s daily without any toxicity.
A 1992 issue on Nutrition Reviews reported that a controlled experiment with older people given 800 IU’s daily improved their immune function. The November 19, 1992, New York Newsday carried a report that vitamin E had decreased the risk of heart disease between one-third and one-half.
Two studies were conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health. The first study Dr. M. Stampfer et al. found that during an eight-year followup 87,000 women who had taken at least 100 IU of vitamin E daily for two years had a 46 percent lower risk of having a heart attack. The second study on men by Dr. E. Rimm et al., based upon 51,000 subjects, showed a 37 percent lower risk. They found there was not enough vitamin E in food to reach these daily levels. Considering that 40 percent of all deaths are caused by heart disease, with 2,000 people a day, or about 750,000 people per year, dying from it, it’s impossible to calculate how many lives would have been saved if the Harvard group had taken their responsibility seriously and examined vitamin E claims in 1950s instead of waiting until 1992. That is the real cost of medical cynicism. The history of vitamin E, it’s massive rejection for about 40 years and its increasing acceptance today is very interesting and contains many lessons for physicians and medical schools. The only reason it was so thoroughly rejected is that physicians knew hardly anything about vitamins. They learn studies on pharmaceuticals for after disease care, not studies on nutrients for preventative purposes.